Part of the fun of working in an office is getting the chance to dress up. In addition to a place for productivity and paychecks, the ole’ office can be a fashion inspiration and a place to show off your favorite trends. But sometimes it’s hard to balance looking stylish and feeling comfortable for eight hours of your day.
Women’s office footwear is often uncomfortable and simply unhealthy for your feet, joints, and spine. Around 60 percent of women say they are willing to tolerate pain in order to wear shoes that look good. But 35 percent of women admit to developing blisters because of poor shoe choices, and 24 percent say they have even taken a fall as a result of uncomfortable and unsafe shoes. When it comes to fashion in the office, there is too much at stake to risk wearing shoes that cause pain.
The good news is that there are stylish shoes that keep your feet happy and healthy—puffy, white tennis shoes aren’t the only option. Even workers who are on their feet most of the day, like nurses and servers, deserve shoe options that give them confidence and comfort at the same time. Take a look at a few workday shoe options that are both comfortable and stylish below, whether you’re in a formal, casual, or hybrid dress-code atmosphere at work.
Business-Formal Footwear Inspiration
Ecco Sculptered Mary Jane – Consider this sleek take on office footwear that pairs leather lining with 2.5-inch heels. These shoes use the ECCO Comfort Fibre system that is shock absorbent and accommodates foot comfort all day. These shoes are very versatile too—they look great with slick dress pants or a dress suit and tights.
Dansko Bennett – This sophisticated shoe adjusts to a woman’s natural foot contours while looking sharp. There is a 2.75-inch heel that gives any woman a boost of confidence without sacrificing support. These shoes look great with a dress-blouse combo that includes a floral print—throw on some colorful tights to make the look really pop for spring!
Business-Casual Footwear Inspiration
Rockport Alanda in British Tan – These breathable polyurethane shoes have leather uppers with contrast stitching—workmanship that makes these stand out from average flat shoes. With a one-inch heel, they provide that little bit of extra height while still accommodating comfort. These shoes work with khaki pants, or even dark jeans on casual Fridays.
Clarks Ashland Alpine Black – These shoes are a must-have for any business-casual wardrobe because they are so versatile. They look great with tights and a skirt or dark dress pants and a simple sweater. These shoes make use of an OrthoLite footbed that provides comfort and support throughout the day, and two bungee loop buttons accommodate an easy fit on any foot. These are a footwear staple.
Casual Footwear Inspiration
Merrell Twist Glove – Just because a workplace allows casual dress does not mean that you should miss an opportunity to be fashionable. These shoes are versatile for a variety of style choices, including jeans, skirts, shorts, and even a casual dress. These shoes feature Nubuck leather uppers and contrast stitching, as well as odor control elements. A pigskin covered footbed also provides that extra support while going through your daily work routine. Try the red to add color to your spring/summer wardrobe or the black for versatility.
Clarks Arbor Jade – Perfect for medical professionals, traveling sales agents, and food service industry workers alike, these shoes use suede to add a pop of elegance to a comfortable design. The Arbor Jade features a durable, shock-absorbent outsole that protects vertebra, spine, and joints from the movements of the workday. These can be paired with jeans, hospital scrubs, or even the occasional dressy outfit with a modern edge.
Tips for Finding the Right Work Shoes
When choosing shoes for any work setting, fashion should come secondary to the utility and comfort of the shoe. Luckily, there are a lot of brands, like the ones above, that make both things possible. Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you shoe-shop for work:
· Consider a lower heel. Different body types do better with high heels, but if you are finding that your feet and back are in pain at the end of the workday, it’s time to take an inch or two off your daily wear. If you really do not want to let go of the height, invest in heels that are designed to cushion and support your foot during wear.
· Avoid pointy, narrow toes. When you crowd your toes, it means less support for the rest of your body and, over time, structural problems with your feet. Pick shoes that give ample room for your toes to lie naturally without squeezing together or overlapping.
With the right footwear, you don’t need to sacrifice fashion or comfort—both can work harmoniously to give you the best shot at a productive and confident workday.